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Remote Hearings: Top Tips!

Melissa Murphy
Michael Fry

Melissa Murphy and Michael Fry share their experience to date.

  1. If you have a remote hearing coming up, test the technology. Each web based video conferencing has its own idiosyncrasies and it is worth being on top of the functions by testing it all out, if need be practising on colleagues. 
     
  2. Be a good timekeeper. Those who log in on time will notice those who are frequently late. Aim to be settled well beforehand. If you can, try to log in a little before the hearing begins.  
     
  3. You’ve got a mute button, a dog and the post is on its way. We’ll let you finalise that tip.  
     
  4. Let the tribunal guide you – you should be given the opportunity to speak. In hearings, as in life, interrupting or speaking over another party is not appreciated.
     
  5. Otherwise: new etiquette is emerging for video conferencing, and there are ways you can indicate your desire to speak which are not available in conference calls. In more informal discussion, it is sometimes useful to agree what signal to use, to avoid either missing your moment, or interrupting. 
     
  6. Think about how you are going to access documents while participating in the hearing. If you are relying on one device for both purposes, spend some time in advance establishing ways to make that work. 
     
  7. If your client/another team member is not going to be with you, decide how you are going to communicate instructions or help. Real time communication is preferable to emails. Consider making use of messenger apps & be conscious of confidentiality, choose only those you know will be secure. 
     
  8. Try not to fidget too much, it is quite noticeable. In related news, your screen is not a mirror… 
     
  9. In an ideal world, you would have a quiet environment, with no traffic noise, family interruptions, determined pets or patchy internet access. Instead, most of us are operating with constraints. A sense of humour will go a long way. If sometimes “mute” does not cut it, you will simply have to apologise and/or style it out.